Two grands, four students and lots of talent
November 20, 2008 by Amy Reid
Two Yamaha grand pianos sat centre stage, their ivory keys waiting to be played. Just after noon Wednesday, the 13 music students who make up the Kwantlen Piano Chamber Ensemble emerged and performedÂ a Schubert piece, arranged by Carl Burchard, called the Trout Quintet, launching the latest in the Music at Midweek concert series.
Four of the five movements that were performed were played on two pianos, with two students at each one.
â€œIf you play piano, itâ€™s one thing to keep your own two hands together,â€ said Jane Hayes, director of the piano ensemble. â€œItâ€™s so different for a pianist to have to turn around, and think about not just their hands, but three other peopleâ€™s.â€
How it sounded in the Langley concert hall Wednesday.
One of the movements was performed with only one pianist, Kara Routley, who accompanied a string quartet. Hayes said she works closely with the director of the string ensemble and they always try to put their heads together to get the string players and pianists performing together.
The students signed up for these performances in the first two weeks of school, and Hayes then selected which students will perform, based on experience, ability and level of comfort. The performance was prepared and executed in only 10 weeks.
The students are required practice one hour a week with the teacher and one hour a week on their own, but Hayes said her students put in extra time this semester. She said that the groupâ€™s chemistry was amazing.
â€œIt was a really challenging piece, but they rose to the occasion,â€ she said proudly.
Some students performed in two pieces, some in three. Do they sign up for that?
â€œNo, thatâ€™s just the mean instructor,â€ Hayes said, chuckling, as she explained that students only sign up for one, but she gauges what she thinks students are capable of and assigns from there.
â€œYou want to challenge them,â€ she said. â€œYou have to take them out of their comfort zone, or they will never learn. And itâ€™s a question of how much can I push.â€
The piano students will also be performing a Mozart triple piano concerto and a Bach double concerto on Dec. 3, accompanying the string ensemble students, in the last Music at Midweek performance of the semester.